Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Complete Version of Ye three Blind Mice

Having enjoyed reading about this book over at Vintage Jane, I was surprise and delighted to walk into The Winchester Bookshop and find a copy of the exact same book! How’s that for a strange coincidence? It was published fifty-odd years ago so there can't be that many copies around. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't read about it a few days earlier or would I have found it anyway? I have no idea but the decision to buy was made almost before I saw it!

This is one of those familiar nursery rhymes most of us take for granted. But, have you ever thought about the words?

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

The cruelty of the farmer’s wife is bad enough but have you considered how the mice lost their sight? The illustrations in The Complete Version of Ye three Blind Mice by John W. Ivimey are illuminating (excuse the pun!)

Three small mice
pined for some fun
They made up their minds to set out to roam; 
Said they, "'Tis dull to remain at home," 
And all the luggage they took was a comb, 
These three small mice.

Three bold mice,
Came to an inn.
“Good evening, Host, can you give us a bed”,
But the host he grinned and he shook his head.
So they all slept out in a field instead,
These three bold mice.

Three cold mice,
Woke up next morn.
They each had a cold and a swollen face,
Through sleeping all night in an open space;
So they rose quite early and left the place,
These three cold mice.

Three hungry mice,
Searched for some food.
But all they found was a walnut shell,
That lay by the side of a dried up well;
Who has eaten the nut they could not tell,
Three hungry mice.

Three starved mice,
Came to a farm.
The farmer was eating some bread and cheese;
So they all went down on their hands and knees,
And squeaked, “pray, give us a morsel please,”
These three starved mice.

Three glad mice,
Ate all they could.
They felt so happy they danced with glee;
But the farmer’s wife came in to see,
What might this merry-making be
Of three glad mice.

Three poor mice,
Soon changed their tone.
The farmer’s wife said, “What are you at,
And why were you capering round like that? 
Just wait a minute: I’ll fetch the cat”
Oh dear!  Poor mice.

Three sad mice,
What could they do?
The bramble hedge was most unkind:
It scratched their eyes and made them blind,
And soon each mouse went out of his mind,
These three sad mice.

Three blind mice,
See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with the carving knife.
Did you ever see such a sight in your life
As three blind mice?

Three sick mice,
Gave way to tears
They could not see and they had no end;
They sought a chemist and found a friend
He gave them some “Never too late to mend”
These three sick mice.

Three wise mice,
Rubbed, rubbed away
And soon their tails began to grow,
And their eyes recovered their sight, you know;
They looked in the glass and it told them so.
These three wise mice.

Three proud mice,
Soon settled down.
The name of their house I cannot tell,
But they've learnt a trade and are doing well.
If you call upon them, ring the bell
Three times twice.

This gruesome tale is supposedly based on the life of Queen Mary 1, the daughter of King Henry VIII and the wife of Philip II of Spain. Mary was known for her persecution of Protestants and her attempt to reinstate Catholicism in England. When three Protestant bishops were convicted of plotting against Mary, she had them burnt at the stake. However, it was mistakenly believed that she had them blinded and dismembered, as is inferred in the rhyme. 

The Complete Version of Ye three Blind Mice is now sold, thank you for your interest. 

I was looking around to see if I could find any ‘mouse related’ items to use in my pictures. I only came up with an old T-Towel and a little ceramic mouse eating strawberries. I thought it worked quite well until I noticed the fox on the left of the picture appears to be stalking the mouse. Maybe it’s not the perfect picture after all. Just think what might have become of the three blind mice had they encountered a fox!

I used to sing the three blind mice to my son without giving the words a thought.  Is it something you sing to your children or grandchildren?  

Monday, 19 August 2013

Book of the Week; Louisa May Alcott's Little Women Illustrated by Rene Cloke

Why is it that so many people love this book while others loathe it? Some complain of its saccharine sweetness and outdated attitudes while others declare it to be magical and timeless. I adored it when I was a little girl, but I’m nervous about reading it again in case I fall out of love. Either way, this is a beautiful edition lovingly illustrated by Rene Cloke. 

"Look there! Look there!"

"May I come in, please, or shall I be a bother?"

Laurie and Jo rowed one boat.

I took 'The Vicar of Wakefield' out of my pocket --

"Keep near the shore, it isn't safe in the middle."

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott;  Eight full-page colour plates and numerous black-and-white illustrations by Rene Cloke. Large hardback book complete with the scarce dust jacket published by P. R. Gawthorn Ltd in 1949.

This copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is now sold, thank you for your interest

Have you read Little Women? If you have did you love it or did you hate it? 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Mabel Lucie Attwell Update, Janet & Anne Grahame Johnstone Bibliography and some Bookish Events

For those of you interested in the outcome of my Mabel Lucie Attwell eBay auctions (see the original post here) I can report all the birthday cards are now sold. I was very sad to see them go but pleased that the high bids all came from the same lady in Australia. It's nice to know the collection will be staying together. Having sold six of the cards, I now feel it’s OK to keep the seventh (duplicate one) for my own collection.

A recent visitor to this blog asked how many Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone books are in circulation. See the question and my original J&AG post here. I’ve been asked that exact question several times in the past and decided it was time to do something about it.  So for 'Jessica' and anyone else interested in Janet and Anne, there is now a bibliography of 200+ books here. Many of the titles are out of print, but it should still be possible to find copies online or at book fairs/boot sales and the like.

A couple of bookish places you might like to visit;

Rumoured to be the inspiration for Pemberley - Mr. Darcy's home in Pride and Prejudice - Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is the setting for 'A Georgian Summer' on until the 29th August, 2013.

My favourite Jane Austen adaptation . Image from Pride and Prejudice (1995) wedding scene of Elizabeth and Darcy (c) BBC for Masterpiece

On 3 September 2013, the new Library of Birmingham opens to the public. Located in Birmingham’s Centenary Square, the library will hold a four-month discovery season of events to mark its opening.  Some of the library’s rarely seen collections will be on display. Among them are one of the world’s largest Shakespeare collections; an archive of silent movie scores and of most interest to me, the Parker Collection of Children’s Books and Games.  

The Parker collection is made up of pop-up and movable picture books, illustrated books and children’s games. Some of the finest children’s illustrators are represented, including Edmund Dulac, Charles Robinson and Arthur Rackham. Beatrix Potter, Mabel Lucy Attwell, Margaret Tarrant, Cicely Mary Barker and Ernest Shepard are also included.  In addition to the books, there are around 100 mostly Victorian educational games. Further information here

Last but certainly not least; if you are in Coventry over the next few weeks, I recommend a trip to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

I visited last week and thoroughly enjoyed both the Quentin Blake and Alice in Wonderland Exhibitions. Quentin Blake is one of Britain’s best loved and most successful illustrators. This exhibition brings together 50 of his works commissioned by hospitals and health centres in the UK and abroad. It runs until the 3rd November so you still have plenty of time to go along.  

Looking in Wonderland displays a selection of the best illustrations by Sir John Tenniel for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there (1872) by Lewis Carroll. It was wonderful to see so many familiar characters displayed around the walls and even nicer to see lots of the original Alice books on display. Looking in Wonderland is on until the 8th September, 2013.

Thanks for calling in I hope you've enjoyed this 'bookish round up'.

Update July 2016; March House Books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I'm still here at my blog, and I'm happy you are too!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

No Words Required - Beautiful Book Covers

How lucky am I? These are just some of the beautiful books I've catalogued in the last couple of weeks. The oldest – Billie Bouncers Half Holidays was published in 1934 and the newest – Cowboy Dreams in 1999. The Teddy Tar Books, Twilight Tales and Mickey Mouse were all published in the 1950s. Beautiful books - vintage or new they need no words!  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I've enjoyed cataloguing them.

These and many others are available to view or purchase at March House Books.

Cowboy dreams, A Holiday with Henriette, Once Upon a time, Twilight Tales, Naughty Amelia Jane, Enid Blyton's Brer Rabbit Book, A surprise for Teddy Tar, Teddy Tar and the Big Family  Teddy Tar goes to sea, Teddy Tar meets the black bears, Goldilocks and the three bears, Mick the disobedient puppy and Billie Bouncer's Half Holidays are now sold, thank you for your interest.
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